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Possessed, Insane or SPECIAL?

Special childrenIn those days and maybe even now, the uneducated or superstitious would say  they are demon possessed,  others refer to them as witches,  the “educated” but uninformed may refer to them as abnormal, or maybe disabled or mentally retarded, but we call them SPECIAL.. and they are Special

Yes Special!

These children are indeed special. Beyond the difficulties they and their caretakers or parents face, these children are a true source of joy to the heart. They make you smile, they make you laugh, they make you cry and they make your wonder how great God is. black child An expectation of birth comes with gladness that is immediately dwindled with the sudden realization that the child carried for 9 months may have a developmental disorder that would affect his/her quality of life.  Some of these disorders such as Down Syndrome which is caused by an abnormality in the genes may be detected at birth while some others cannot be detected prior to birth.

downDevelopmental disabilities are a group of physical or mental conditions that children may present with as a result of an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. They have a low to average Intelligent Quotients (IQ)  and may have difficulties in social and communicative behavior. Learning and teaching proves a herculean task for the children and teachers respectively.These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning and may improve as the child grows older but usually last throughout a lifetime. Most developmental disabilities begin before a baby is born, but some can happen after birth because of injury, infection, or birth complications, trauma to the brain etc. Early detection and intervention play key roles in helping children with developmental disorders. Usually a delay in speech, motor and physical development may indicate the presence of such disorders. Parents and Teachers need to consult professionals in the field of special education should they observe a delay or disturbing behaviour or symptom.

You may ask how does this concern me. You probably feel you have other problems to deal with. Whether or not you are directly involved with children with developmental disabilities, you have a role to play.

Firstly, these children are often stigmatized and labelled by society because they are considered different from the norm.  They are excluded from mainstream education, holding a job is even more difficult and people believe that they have no potential. Parents may also be frustrated and may not give the necessary care, love and encouragement the children need. Every member of the society needs to learn to accept their differences as unique qualities, after all we are all different people, even twins have observed differences. This is a call to accept and embrace children with developmental disorders as Autism, Down Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome, Learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, and other disorders.

Secondly, people are not aware that these disabilities are genetically caused. Like the title suggests, some people feel they are demon possessed or witches and that’s why you need to help in spreading the word.

Did you know that Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon had Autism?

They have great and unique potentials

Only look beyond their disabilities.   kids-smiling Be a VOICE to Children with Special Needs.

They need YOU.

They need ME.

They need LOVE.

Be  their VOICE.

Happy Global Autism Awareness Day.

Always remember, they are Special Children!

Spread the word by sharing this article

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Keep your child mentally active!

In this brain awareness week, it is important to realize that there is a dire need to encourage the appropriate development of children mentally. Keeping your child mentally active is one of the best things you could do for that child. This is vital as the brain of a child is more ‘plastic’ than that of adults and hence more prone to change. The learning of new helpful habits and exercises would boost your childs mental abilities and ultimately benefit your child in the future. Below are different ways to keep your child mentally active!

1. Encourage them learn to play instruments:   Playing an instrument as a child, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association (APA), keeps the mind sharper as the child grows. As enjoyable as it may be, it is a challenging cognitive exercise which would keep your child mentally active!

2. Encourage them to read wide: kid reading bookBesides doing their homework or reading books their school requires them too, encourage them also to read other books they’d enjoy. Pick different but interesting knowledgeable topics such as animals, planets and even fantasy so they have broad knowledge. This way reading does not become a chore but a hobby. Find time to read with your children in order to bond with them and make reading a fun experience that would keep your child mentally active!

3. Encourage them to solve picture puzzles: pat1-624x395Picture puzzles are a great way of tasking a child mind. Picture puzzles have been found to exercise both parts of the brain. The logic and sequence of the left-brain and the creativeness and intuity of the right brain are utilized when solving picture puzzles. Use colourful picture puzzles and different ones as well so your child does not get bored by solving the same puzzle again and again. New picture puzzles would bring new challenges that would keep your child mentally active!

4. Encourage brain training games:OfferButton1-sm Brain training games are different from other video games as they are developed to target and develop specific areas of your child’s brain. The aim is to improve the overall mental ability of your child step by step using fun games. Brain training games such as Brainware Safari use proven clinical approaches to cognitive skills development into an engaging video game format that children enjoy. This is a very good way to keep your child mentally active!

5. Encourage outdoor games and physical activities: Kids-Playing-OutsideFresh air and enough space to run around and play are also vital for your childs mental development. Physical activities with other children helps your child develop social skills such as co-operation and empathy towards others. Good social skills and a good social life would help keep your child mentally active!

6. Encourage reduced television time:Kid-watching-TV Too much television is unhealthy for a child mentally. This is the stage were their imaginations are to go wild and free, but television restricts that. Encourage other enjoyable activities and allow your child watch television on a few occasions in order to keep your child mentally active!

Start today! Encourage and challenge your child daily. This will boost confidence, increase resilience and KEEP YOUR CHILD MENTALLY ACTIVE!wavebreak-media_smart-kid-blackboard-300x300


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10 Keys to Raising Resilient Kids

7 year old Yomi pushed aside his homework after one failed attempt as he gazed at the neighbors children playing outside, he simply believed that he couldn’t do it. His teacher had taught them the steps, but he found it a herculean task to perform. After all, he didn’t like numeracy. As soon as his mum spotted that he was leaving his numeracy home work for football, she immediately asked Yomi’s older sibling to fix the home work. 

Many children can be found in this same situation likewise many parents. They have this ” I can’t” mindset. Oh! its too tough, somebody help me! They complain the workload in school is enormous and their parents are quick to change schools. Such children who are easily provided a way of escape in the face of seemingly difficult tasks as a numeracy homework grow up to believe that life is a bed of roses  . They also give up easily and will not complete projects in the face of obstacles. They may grow up believing that their parents  have it all planned out for them. They become dependent on others and lack the ability to initiate projects or handle responsibility especially under pressure.  They may also be convenient to stay in their “comfort zone”, never venturing out to take risks.

Resilience can be defined as  an individual’s ability to cope and bounce back in the face of stress and adversity. Grit, a word associated with resilience can be regarded as  the ability to persevere when achieving long term goals.  Resilience determines a lot of things in life, school success, college success, and general success in life. According to Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., a psychologist who has researched on character skills that  may be responsible for success, she discovered that grit  matters more to a child’s ability to reach full potential than intelligence, skill, or even grades.

Children, as they grow to become adults may face financial hardships, sudden changes, loss of loved ones, hectic schedules, pressures at work, relationship difficulties, and so many other circumstances that may stand in the way of their success or happiness. If they haven’t developed resilience, these circumstances may overwhelm them and they could be at risk of developing psychological disorders as depression.
While some people are of the opinion that  resilient  is innate, research has shown that this “trait” can be taught ????????????????????????????????and learned.

So just how are we supposed to build grit or resilience in a child? Parents, may ask.

Here are a few keys of building this life quality:

  1. Help your  child see failure as an opportunity to learn.
  2. Encourage them to always try again
  3. Teach them problem solving skills e.g. STOP, THINK and ACT can be used in the face of challenges.
  4. Avoid criticism or harsh judgment
  5. Rewards in form of praise, Hi-5’s can be given positive behaviors are observed, when goals are achieved regardless of the obstacles.  
  6. Avoid focusing on failure or negative behavior
  7. Celebrate your children’s strength and cultivate their weaknesses
  8. Build a close, loving  and positive atmosphere in your home
  9. Don’t accommodate every need. This gives them a chance to develop problem solving skills
  10. Model Resilience

With these 10 keys used consistently, your child will be well able to face the hiccups that life brings.

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